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Judge denies Everett School Board member recall effort

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EVERETT -- A request to launch a recall drive against Everett School Board member Jeff Russell has been denied by a Snohomish County Superior Court judge.
The recall request was filed last month by Rodman Reynolds, a candidate for the Everett School Board who was defeated in the August primary.
Judge Ronald Castleberry denied the request during a hearing on Tuesday, finding that Reynolds' concerns did not meet the standards for a public official to be recalled.
In Washington, officials may be recalled for malfeasance, misfeasance or violating their oath of office. A court must find that the recall effort meets one of these requirements before signature gathering can begin.
Reynolds said his reason for seeking the recall was that Russell showed "a blatant disregard for public sovereignty."
Russell said his comments during a board meeting, which were cited in the recall letter, were directed toward fellow board member Jessica Olson's efforts to put documents into meeting minutes.
Russell said he believed they were unrelated to what actually took place at the meeting. He said it's a way for Olson to work around the board's majority to pursue her own agenda without needing another director's support.
Olson has been at odds with her four fellow board members all year over her concerns of public transparency. The disagreement culminated in a grabbing and shoving match between Olson and two other board members during an executive session in August.
Reynolds said he was disappointed in the court ruling. "I remain convinced and Judge Castleberry wasn't," Reynolds said.
"I would think Director Russell might be a little more careful about what he says, although I fear he may just go off and gloat in his own self-rightness."
Russell said the issue of what can -- and can't -- go into school board meeting minutes is one the school board should discuss.
"The minutes of a meeting are in fact the record of the business of that meeting," Russell said. "They are not intended to be used as a bulletin board for an individual board member. What's asked to be placed into the record ought to be germane to that meeting."
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486;
Story tags » Everett School District

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